Workwear all stitched-up
Seven years ago, Vince Papallo, the founder of Stichem, was a builder looking for high-quality workwear for his team of tradesmen. Unable to find a decent supplier in his area, Vince decided to start his own uniform and safety wear company, which he named Stichem. The company now employs three people and sells uniforms, safety wear, promotional clothing and products directly to businesses, schools, clubs and other associations.
At first, Vince and his team relied solely on word of mouth to drive sales and bring customers into their store. The feedback was positive: customers seemed to like their products, and they referred their friends and colleagues. Yet Stichem wanted to expand, and word of mouth didnt drive enough foot traffic.
As a first step, Vince began to run ads in the Yellow Pages directory, spending $17,000 for one year of advertising. Their investment, however, didnt make the phones ring or bring more customers into their store. In fact, Stichems ads in the Yellow Pages resulted in just three leads.
Vince and his team decided to try something different. They wanted an advertising medium that was targeted, as the workwear market is quite niche, and flexible, so they could experiment. With that in mind, Stichem began to buy sponsored links on Google as another way to drive sales.
Title: A Stitch Online
Stichems marketing goals were simple:
- Although international customers occasionally place orders, as a niche business, Stitchem wanted their marketing activities to target only Australians looking for uniforms and safety gear.
- ROI focused campaign, and
- Flexible platform allowing for informed changes.
Che Boielle, a ReachLocal internet marketing consultant, worked closely with Stichem to define their customers and determine the most effective keywords.
When we started Stitchems campaign, we needed to define Stitchems market so they could effectively target potential customers. The team here needed to know who was looking for Vinces product and what they were searching for. We needed to answer questions like What terms do builders use to describe workwear? Do Stitchems customers search for generic terms or brand names? Vinces knowledge about his market helped determine an outline but it was the testing of certain keywords that helped narrow down the field and figure out which keywords would work best.”
Che cast a wide net in the first couple of months and included approximately 1,500 keyword phrases. Many people search for broad terms at the research phase and then conduct more specific searches as their knowledge deepens, and as they get closer to buying.
For Stitchem, it was important to appear on the first page of search results to reach potential customers as they began their research, but only for specific terms. Stitchem saw stronger returns for specific product keywords – phrases like ‘safety clothing’ instead of ‘clothing’ — that customers used when they were closer to purchase.
ReachLocal recommended that Stitchem spend more of their budget on terms that were highly relevant to their business to make sure they were targeting the best customers.
ReachLocal set up and currently maintains Stitchems Google AdWords campaign, so that Stitchems ads appear on Google when customers search for phrases like safety clothing, work wear and steel cap footwear. Once ReachLocal understood what Stitchems potential customers were searching for and when, they included generic terms such as workwear and high vision clothing, as well as brand names and specific terms such as printed orange t-shirt and branded corporate uniforms to reach customers at different stages in their purchase cycle.
To identify the most effective keywords, Che set up a tracking campaign to evaluate which keywords generated the highest number of clicks and purchases. This process helped ReachLocal refocus their list of 1,500 keywords to 300 highly relevant and effective phrases within three months of the campaigns kick off.
In addition to tracking clicks and purchases, ReachLocal and Stitchem trialled targeting different geographies to reach new customers.
We looked into targeting builders by including the suburbs where there are lots of construction projects and where building companies HQs are based. We soon realised that builders arent always tied to the locality of their suppliers, so they dont necessarily look for one that is nearby. After analysing the impact of this approach, ReachLocal removed local keywords from Stitchems campaign, explained Che.
Under ReachLocals guidance, Stitchems AdWords conversion rate jumped from 4% to more than 10%. Stitchems cost per lead has reduced from $27.27 per lead to $11.72 within five months of the campaign starting. By fine-tuning their campaign, Stitchem now pays less for each customer, which means their budget stretches even further.
I now know that throwing extra money at a search marketing campaign doesnt necessarily improve the conversion rate. Our AdWords budget still stands at the $1,500 per month we initially invested, said Stichem founder, Vince.
- Revenue increase of 400% since Stitchem began using AdWords
- 180 leads per month, compared to three when using print directories
- 80% of Stitchem’s revenue now comes from online leads and in-store purchases
- Developed a strong customer email database used to promote specials and new products, and
- Every $1 Stitchem invests achieves $29.20 in revenue.